Toughest test brings out best
Paddy Davitt King's Lynn Town 3, Needham Market 2: Town will be no respecter of reputations this season if the club's latest feisty friendly is any guide. Try telling tigerish midfielder Luke Thurlbourne that pre-season is about fitness and not winning games.
King's Lynn Town 3, Needham Market 2
Town will be no respecter of reputations this season if the club's latest feisty friendly is any guide.
Try telling tigerish midfielder Luke Thurlbourne that pre-season is about fitness and not winning games. Lynn were heading for a first friendly defeat against the reigning Ridgeons Premier Division champions until the all action midfielder slotted from an acute angle.
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Jack Defty powered the hosts in front shortly after before Needham striker Nathan Stone raced clear to notch his second following a classy first half finish. Still no thoughts from Lynn at that stage to call a truce with Kyle Plumb bravely despatching Jamie Thurlbourne's pinpoint near post corner.
“We said at half time we'd learn a few things about the players and they produced a great response,” said joint boss Gary Setchell. “That was our biggest test so far because I am fairly confident Needham Market will go well in the league above this season and they've always had a good run in the FA Vase but I felt we more than matched them.
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“Even at half time when we were behind we said to the lads if they keep playing football they will get their rewards and I thought they did that - the 20 minutes after the interval was our best spell and Needham didn't really get out of their half.
“For me it was a top, top Ridgeons League or maybe even a level higher standard. The quality of football by both sides was first class and it was competitive with the tackles flying in. That sort of heated game was just what we needed after the earlier matches.”
Fellow boss Kevin Boon singled out some of Lynn's lesser lights.
“I think we showed character,” he said. “To go 1-0 down and then be pegged back at 2-2 and go again is a good sign. The likes of Kyle Plumb and young Ryan Fryatt didn't look out of place and Danny Buhlemann was fantastic - solid in defence and always keen to get forward and support.
“I felt we were the better side right throughout and we played the better football. I know it was a friendly but to see the Needham bench jump up and celebrate when they scored told me it was a serious game of football.
“They came here looking to turn us over. They were Ridgeons League champions and perhaps they wanted to set down a marker - but fortunately they didn't.”
Setchell admitted the impressive Thurlbourne brothers are already attracting admirers even before the league kick off.
“There has been other clubs interested in both but they are happy,” he said. “They train well here and King's Lynn at the minute is a great place to be for players, supporters and everyone else.
“Luke is frightening. He is a quality player and a little bit of a law unto himself when he pops up in different areas but as a manager you have to accept that sometimes. He scores at the back post when I would want him on the edge of the box to pick up second balls but that is him all over - he wants to take a game by the scruff of the neck.
“Jamie's left foot is second to none and the thing is he is enjoying his football here. He's been at Mildenhall and St Albans but I think he realises this is a chance for him to go where he wants. He can progress with King's Lynn.”
t King's Lynn Town: Street, Buhlemann, C Defty, L Thurlbourne (Fryatt 65), Plumb, B Stone (Newton 49), Doherty, Kelly (Smith 57), J Defty (Barnes 85), Cubberley (Harris 53), J Thurlbourne. Subs (all used). Goals: L Thurlbourne (62), J Defty (66), Plumb (83)
t Needham Market (starting XI): Croll, Pemberton, Wake, Parker, Boyland, R Barber, Wilby, B Barber, N Stone, Bethall, Evans. Subs: Dennis, Wilkinson, Sparkes, Williams. Goals: N Stone (36, 74)
t Referee: N Hare (Peterborough)
t Attendance: 524